Wyoming Republican Governor Matt Mead signed a bill on Monday that paves the way for climate change to be taught in public schools across the state.
The bill repeals a ban on the adoption of controversial K-12 science standards that say global warming is real and caused by human activity. It stands as a major victory for science-education activists who have pushed hard for Wyoming to implement the curriculum.
The curriculum, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, has sparked controversy all over the U.S. as skeptics protest the teaching of climate change in schools. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards so far, but the academic road map has faced hurdles in a number of other states, including Oklahoma and South Carolina. Wyoming lawmakers blocked the State Board of Education from considering the standards last year amid fears that teaching climate science could cast Wyoming's fossil-fuel industry in a negative light.
A patchwork of existing science standards has created vast disparities in the way climate change is taught in schools, a reality that alarms science-education advocates. The National Center for Science Education and Climate Parents, a nonprofit that works to promote teaching of climate change in schools, were among the groups that cheered the bill-signing on Monday.